Officials with the Taxslayer Bowl says more than 60,000 tickets have been sold for Friday’s game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Tennessee Volunteers. Both teams were part of a final news conference in Jacksonville this morning and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says his team is ready for kickoff. “It’s time, I think everybody is ready to play, I think our opponents feel the same way…hopefully we can go out and play a good game on Friday,” Ferentz said.
The Hawkeyes had a disappointing 7-5 regular season and this will be the 12th time a Ferentz coached Iowa team has appeared in a bowl in his 16 years as head coach. “I read something about ticket sales being a little slow at home, if they were slow, I can tell you they were really slow in 2012,” he says. The Hawkeyes failed to make the postseason in 2012.
It will be the final game in an Iowa uniform for Outland Trophy winner Brandon Scherff. “I was just catching myself thinking back to my freshman year and how far we’ve come as a team, and how far I’ve come as a player and as a teammate to these guys. It’s an incredible experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Scherff said.
It has been an emotional week for all of the seniors as they prepare for their final game. Iowa running back Mark Weisman says it hasn’t sunk in that this will be his last game in a Hawkeye uniform, as he is just focused on giving it his all in the last game. It has sunk in for middle linebacker Quinton Alston. Alston says he saw a countdown to kickoff when they were on the way to a meal. “It’s all the emotions all mixed together in your mind, you’re anxious, you’re nervous and just ready to get to the game,” Alston said.
Tennessee has 17 freshmen in its two-deep and coach Butch Jones says the Hawkeyes have a major edge in experience, but he said the Volenteers must be ready for the physical challenge the Hawkeyes will offer.
Tennessee is 6-6.